It is a sign of the times that a phone call from an unknown caller has to be assumed to be a scammer. Helen decides to take them on, but she gets more than she bargained for. And is sweet Susie turning into a banshee? This episode also includes the song "Sometimes I Think".
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Am I Old Yet?
Episode 10 "Jack Who?"
(c) Flloyd Kennedy
11 Heathcote Close L7 6QA
HELEN: Ah lovely, someone wants to talk to me.
Ohoh! No caller id. Shall I answer it? Or shall I not? Probably a spammer, better not. On the other hand, why not live dangerously? Something else to put in the memoir. What would Janey say? Don't do it, Mum! Come on then. Let's have a bit of fun. Hello? Who is this please?
JACK: Could I speak to Mrs Helen Docherty?
HELEN: Who wants to speak to her?
JACK: This is Jack Smith here. Am I speaking to Mrs Docherty?
HELEN: Yes, but who are you? Oh, I get it. You're not a real person. You're one of those botty things. Well go on, give me your spiel. Tell me how I've been involved in a car accident, even though I don't have a car, and I haven't even been in one for over a year.
SUSIE: [WHISPERING] What is she saying?
HELEN: Go on, hit me with it. You're going to help me deal with all the legalities, and the illegalities, and of course, you'll want my bank details and my password, and it won't cost me anything more than the national debt of a small South American country--
JACK: Mrs Docherty! I'm not a machine
HELEN: Oh I bet you say that to all the girls-
JACK: No I promise you (HE'S LAUGHING NOW). I'm really not a bot. And I'm not going to offer you car insurance, I just want to give you a message from Susie.
HELEN: Susie! (suspicious) Susie who?
JACK: Susie. your granddaughter Susie.
HELEN: You know Susie! Hang on, why are you giving me a message from her? is she alright? What have you done with her? Have you kidnapped her? I'm calling the police-
JACK: Mrs Docherty, please! Please listen to me. I'm not a kidnapper,I'm not a machine, my name is Jack Smith-
HELEN: Jack Smith, yeah right! Come on mister, you'd better explain yourself quick fast or I'm - I'm pulling the emergency chord.
SUSIE: [WHISPER] What is she saying?
JACK: She says she's going to pull the emergency chord.
SUSIE: She doesn't have an emergency chord.
JACK: OK. Leave it with me, alright? Mrs Docherty, you don't need to do that, I promise you. Susie is fine. She's just got laryngitis or something, she's lost her voice. And I swear to you, on my dog's grave, my name really is Jack Smith.
HELEN: Jack Smith? Oh! Jack!!! Oh my lord! You're Jack. Susie's Jack. I'm so sorry! And you've lost your dog! That is awfu
JACK: The dog died four years ago. I'm quite over it now, thanks
HELEN: Aw. You're obviously being very brave.
What kind of a dog was she -- he?
JACK: She was a Highland Terrier, called Snooky.
HELEN: Oh gorgeous.They are lovely, so friendly and cheeky. You must miss her.
JACK: D'ye know, Mrs Docherty, I do. I don't normally let on, but she really was such a pal when I was growing up.
SUSIE: [WHISPERING] What are you doing?
HELEN: Well, Jack. Tell me. What's going on, what is wrong with Susie?
JACK: Nothing! she's fine, she's just lost her voice, and she wanted to let you know, in case you wanted to call her.
HELEN: Oh! Oh I see. I don't see.
JACK: Her mother tried calling a few minutes ago, and Susie wouldn't answer it because--well--she can't speak. And she
wouldn't let me answer it, because -- you know --
HELEN: Because Janey doesn't know you exist.
JACK: Yeah right. But then she thought her mother would probably worry that her call wasn't answered. So she asked me to call you to ask you to pass on the message.
HELEN: Alright. But why don't you just call her mother? Wouldn't that be the logical thing to do? Why me?
JACK: Susie said you would be more sensible. And then you could explain it all, like, everything, to her mother.
HELEN: Oh... right. And how wrong could she be.
You must think I'm an absolute dill. Oh my goodness!!! I've just realised, I'm turning into Janey. I never knew that could be a thing,
HELEN: That the older you get, the more you become like your daughter.
JACK: I'm sorry I wouldn't know.
HELEN: Of course not. You would expect to grow to be like your father, wouldn't you? Most men do. And women are supposed to grow like their mothers, not the other way round. What do you think, Jack? May I call you Jack?
SUSIE: (WHISPERING Please just tell her to call Mum
JACK: [WHISPERING] Yeah I already did.
HELEN: What? What was that, Jack?
JACK: [WHISPERING]) I said I asked you to call her mother.
HELEN: I know you did. Why are you whispering?
JACK: Oh sorry. So. Will you call her now?
HELEN: Is Susie there with you?
SUSIE: Jack. Hang up.
HELEN: Jack. Jack? Talk to me Jack, is that Susie whispering?
JACK: Yeah. She wants me to hang up now.
HELEN: I can understand that. But before you do, Jack, I have two things to say to you
SUSIE: Hang! up!
HELEN: One. Thank you for passing on the message to me. I appreciate that. Two. Tell Susie to stop whispering.
HELEN (CONT'D): I've heard it's the worst thing you can do
when you lose your voice. The vocal folds are inflamed, and whispering irritates them even further. Will you see to that for me please Jack.
JACK: Sure. And you're welcome.
HELEN: Good. and Jack, please-- how on earth did she get laryngitis?
SUSIE: Jack, give me that
HELEN: Shouting. Susie? Shouting. My lovely sweet natured, kind, gentle Susie! what did you do to her to make her shout so badly that she lost her voice
JACK: Oh hang on there. It wasn't me she was shouting at.
HELEN: Well who was it?
JACK: She was on a demo.
JACK: She was demonstrating
HELEN: Yes, I know what a demo is. What sort of a demo?
JACK: Climate change stuff. You know--cut carbon emissions, stop single use plastics, save the planet,
HELEN:: Oh. Well good for her.
JACK: Yes, it was pretty cool.
HELEN: Were you there with her, Jack?
JACK: Of course.
SUSIE: Jack! Give me the phone
SUSIE: Don't you shush me! Give me the phone.
JACK: It's my phone. And your gran says you've to stop whispering. It's bad for you. Yes, Mrs Docherty, it was a demo outside our digs, against the college administrators taking away our recycling bins.
HELEN: Ok. Sounds like a decent cause. So why all the shouting? Did they send in the police? Was anyone rioting?
JACK: Oh no no, nothing like that. It was after the demo was winding up, everyone was heading off, and then Susie noticed all the rubbish they were leaving behind.
HELEN: Who? Who was leaving rubbish behind? The admin people?
JACK: No. The demonstrators. Mostly students.
They just dumped their plastic bottles and sandwich wrappings where they'd been sitting while they listened to the speeches.
HELEN: You have got to be kidding.
JACK: Not a bit. It was unbelievable.
HELEN: So Susie got stuck in?
JACK: Yeah. And they started arguing back, and it kind of escalated into a full scale screaming match.
HELEN: Were they fighting? Throwing punches?
JACK: No. Nothing like that. They reckoned they were making a point, because there were no recycling bins, Susie thought it was a pretty dumb way to make the point, making matters worse. And they got pissed off because they didn't like being told off. They were just stupid kids screaming stupid names.
HELEN: But Susie wouldn't be calling people names.
JACK: Oh not at all. Bloody hell no.
SUSIE: [WHISPERED SCREAM] Jack!
JACK: Oh. Sorry Mrs Docherty.
HELEN: Not at all Jack. No need to apologise. And Jack--just call me Gran. Oh! Unless you already have a gran you call gran?
JACK: No, that's fine. We call ours Mrs Smith Senior.
JACK: No. I'm kidding. She's Nanny Louise.
HELEN: Goodo. Well, give Nanny Louise my best wishes, next time you speak to her?
JACK: Will do.
SUSIE: [WHISPERING] What do you think you're doing?
What are you talking about?
JACK It's all good, Susie. I'm just having a chat with Gran here.
HELEN Jack? Jack lovely, put Susie on, will you?
I'll just have a quick word with her.
JACK Sure. Here. She wants to talk to you.
SUSIE [WHISPERS] Gran?
HELEN Now Susie, don't say a word. It's alright,
I shall phone your mother, don't worry about that. And don't worry about Jack either. Or me. Or what I might think of Jack. Or what he might think of me. Gosh. I just thought of that. Would you be worried about what he might think of me? Don't answer that. Save your voice.
Speaking of which. Save your voice, darling. You done good. But save your voice. Now. Call me when it comes back to you, and Do. Not. Whisper.
SUSIE No Gran.
HELEN What did I just say?
HELEN Good girl. Bye now. Take care. Love you....
I know, you love me too. MUSIC
Mark is an actor/writer based in Liverpool. He can be seen on Amazon Prime in 2020’s “While We Wait” and stars in Rusty Apper’s “Artefacts of Fear” (October 2021). His crime comedy novels are available through Amazon, more details at www.markporter.weebly.com. To be honest, the words ‘cult hero’ and ‘international mega star’ spring to mind—if not quite now, then very very soon!
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